Disobedience and rebellion of Saul

Disobedience and rebellion of Saul (1 Samuel 15:1-35)

In this passage we see the rebellion of Saul through partial disobedience. Now Saul had trouble before as the word of God shows in 1 Samuel 13, but in this sin we see what cost him the kingdom.

The story before us is simple God told Saul to destroy the Amalekites because of the fact that they had attacked Israel when they were coming up out of the land of Egypt. Not only were they to kill the Amalekites but they were to kill their livestock also. Saul not only did not kill the king of the Amalekites but because of fear of the people he also left the best sheep, oxen, lambs and all that was good. When Samuel shows up he ask Saul what was the meaning of the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen that he heard. Saul gave him an excuse that they saved them for a sacrifice. This is where we see the famous response of Samuel from this chapter.


            22And Samuel said, hath the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as      in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to   hearken than the fat of rams.23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is a iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hath rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

1Samuel 15:22-23

As a direct result of this disobedience we see Saul lose the kingdom and also the fellowship of Samuel.

What can we learn from this lesson?

1)  Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (verse 23)

  • Not that a stubborn and rebellious child under the law were under the penalty of death (Deuteronomy 21:18-20 ; Exodus 22:18)
  • Now most of us would say that we would never commit witchcraft or idolatry, but all of us rebel sometimes, whether it be against God, our parents, our bosses, or the other authorities God has placed in our lives.

2)  That partial obedience is also rebellion (verse 7-9)

  • Note that Saul left the good animals alive and wanted to sacrifice them unto the Lord, Samuel told him that God is more pleased with obedience than sacrifice.
  • Many times we don’t totally disobey but we do it partially, like finding ways to get around the rules or bending them in our favor etc.
  • Remember that idolatry is covetousness (Colossians 3:5), this would apply here to putting our own wants and wishes ahead of God’s.

3)  Even the smallest rebellion has consequences (verses 28-35)

  • Saul lost the kingdom and eventually his life but note also that he lost the fellowship of Samuel (verse 35).
  • We must weigh all the cost, remembering some bridges once burnt are very hard to rebuild.


Disobedience and rebellion of Saul (1 Samuel 15:1-35)


1)  What was Saul told to do in regards to the Amalekites?


2)  How are rebellion and witchcraft connected?


3)  What are some things we can learn concerning Saul’s partial disobedience?


4)  What did this disobedience cost Saul?